Firefighter tracking, health monitoring and PPE combine for a proactive approach to your safety.
At FDIC Globe presented to attendees, and later this evening to FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation contributors and bloggers, the WASP project. WASP stands for Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform and is a joint effort among many corporations incorporating physiological monitoring and 3-D firefighter locating into the firefighter’s PPE compliment.
With a focus on improving PPE as well as providing additional means to help lower the number of firefighter fatalities, Globe and partners have built upon the developments borne out of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s firefighter tracking research to incorporate real time health monitoring and physical location in a multi-component system.
WASP is built from collaboration of five main elements:
Globe Manufacturing Company, LLC —Management, Product Development, Manufacturing and Distribution
Zephyr Technology Corporation—Physiological Monitoring Technology
TRX Systems, Inc.—Location/Tracking Technology
Skidmore College / Health and Exercise Sciences Department—Physiology Science
Propel, LLC—Textile Development
Before getting into the detailed specifics, take a look at this video of testing done with Atlanta Fire Rescue in February 2012
Before the tests in Atlanta, researchers also worked with Skidmore College faculty conducting field tests on the WASP system. Funded through a Department of Army National Protection Center grant, the components were tested for accuracy and effectiveness within the physiology and tracking goals.
During the evening’s presentation, Globe Firesuits Director of Business Development Mark Mordecai presented the members of the project, explained the development in research and fielded questions from the guests. I was fortunate to have time earlier in the afternoon to speak with Jonathan Woodward of Zephyr about WASP and learn how it has developed and continuing to develop. Members of the Boston Fire Department at the Globe booth, who had participated in earlier field tests, also freely offered positive reviews of the system and intent to conduct additional testing.
WASP has significant promise as an early warning for medical problems, a continual locator system of firefighters and, with its data recording capabilities, an additional means of documentation for lessons learned in the event of a interior fireground mishap. Is WASP an all-in-one, all-solution tool? No. Just like many of the tools we have, and the ones to come, WASP will rely on personal behavior to be fully effective. However, with its physiological and tracking capability, WASP can be a highly valuable asset as it offers a proactive stance toward helping reduce line of duty deaths on the fireground.
Next: More on how WASP Works
Bill Carey is the daily news and blog manager for Elsevier Public Safety (FireRescue Magazine/Firefighter Nation, JEMS and LawOfficer sites.) Bill also manages the FireEMSBlogs.com network and is a former volunteer lieutenant with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County, Maryland.
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